Guest Author: Maria Rainier – Healthy Wake-Up Beverages for Jetlagged Travel PTs

Traveling PT drinking teaWhen you’re traveling serious distances for work, passing through one or more time zones on the way to your destination, it’s easy to let fatigue affect you the next morning. But if you’re a traveling physical therapist, you’ll probably be starting your latest job a few hours after you arrive, so you can’t afford to let jetlag get to you. Yes, there are energy drinks and coffee galore no matter where you go, but as a physical therapist, you know how important it is to keep your body and mind at their healthiest.

Unfortunately, many of the most popular ways to get energized in the morning aren’t the healthiest ways to keep your mind sharp and your body ready for action. It’s easy to rely on that morning cup of joe, especially when you’re spending the night in a hotel that has that convenient little coffee maker right there on the dresser. But you can get a healthier and more effective boost of energy from one or more of the following drinks, and it’s easy to make them even when you’re on the go.

Black Tea

The main benefits of tea (as opposed to coffee) are that it’s packed with antioxidants and you’re less likely to add excessive amounts of cream and sugar. It’s still potent enough to wake you up, but it’s gentler on your system and won’t let you down quite as hard as coffee might. I drink a cup of black tea every morning, and I used to be a coffee addict – I find the flavors of black tea to be more appropriate for morning and I love the “clean” energy I get from it. Black tea also has more caffeine than green tea, but depending on your needs, green tea might be energizing enough for you.

You probably don’t want to drink the same tea every morning, especially when there are so many great varieties, so here are three of the best and easiest to find that I’ve tasted. You can simply take the teabags with you and use a coffee maker to heat up the water, and this brand is easy enough to find that you can get more in most places even if you run out. All three of these are made by Tazo and can be found at coffee shops, grocery stores, health food stores, and even superstores like Target and Wal-Mart. To taste them before buying a whole box, simply find a coffee shop that carries them and order a tea to get a single teabag.

  • Awake: This blend of black teas from India and Sri Lanka is an all-natural way to feel invigorated, no matter what happened the night before. To me, it carries hints of citrus and anise, giving it a fresh but substantial flavor that wakes up the senses.
  • Focus: To be honest, I do have a favorite, and this is it. In addition to all-natural black tea, it has lemon, orange, chicory, and cocoa flavors that blend together into a beverage that tastes like pure energy. You get caffeine from both cocoa peels and black tea, so it’s a perfect way to get that morning kick when you need it the most.
  • Organic Chai: If I’m feeling especially sluggish, I choose the chai. Double doses of energy from a black tea blend and ginger root wake you up gently, but it’s the black pepper that jump-starts your taste buds. Other spices like cinnamon, cloves, and anise make this tea a winner in the fight against jetlag.

Lemon Pick-Me-Up

If you want to avoid caffeine entirely, but you still want to enjoy the energizing effects of a healthy morning beverage, try this on for size. You’ll have to get your hands on a fresh lemon, but you can easily carry a few with you (along with a small manual juicer and peeler). Before you do anything, wash the lemon with soap and warm water to get rid of any pesticides – if you’re really committed to a healthy drink, try to use an organic lemon. Once your lemon is clean, cut it in half, juice one half, and add the liquid to a glass of room-temperature water. Next, use your peeler to get a teaspoon of lemon zest out of the peel that’s left from the juiced half, adding this to the water and lemon juice. Stir it up and enjoy – it’s surprisingly refreshing and will get your morning off to a healthy and alert start.

Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she’s been researching the lowest paying degrees as well as the highest paying jobs. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

Guest Author: Maria Rainier – Travel Light: Tips for Efficient Packing

travel physical therapist trying to pack suitcaseIf you’re road tripping, you don’t want to fill your vehicle with suitcases – that extra weight decreases your fuel efficiency and it means you’ll have to roll, carry, and otherwise haul all of those suitcases around with you. That’s no way to travel. Things get even worse for the baggage-laden traveling physical therapist who’s flying to the next job since airlines now charge by the suitcase. No matter how you’re getting to your destination, the travel experience will be less of a headache and more of an adventure if you can pack efficiently. That means knowing what’s essential and packing it well. So if you’re interested in lightening your load and learning some professional travel skills, use these tips the next time you’re packing for a new job.

Learn from the Best

Why not get some packing tips from people who travel for a living? The New York Times interviewed seasoned flight attendants and pilots to get some professional packing advice for those of us who would appreciate a lighter suitcase. In addition to these tips, I’ve included a few of my own – most of which I learned the hard way when I flew overseas for the first time. I was literally repacking my suitcase in front of an agent who was telling me I had five minutes before I’d miss my flight. It wasn’t pretty, so avoid getting stuck in that situation and see if you can use some of these tips to start packing like a pro.

  • Pack your necessities first, from largest to smallest.
  • As you pack your necessities, try to fit smaller items inside larger ones. For example, you can put socks inside your shoes and roll small fragile items inside your clothing.
  • Roll your clothes instead of folding and stacking them. You can even place one shirt on top of another and roll them both at the same time.
  • When you travel, wear layers. This is a good way to bring extra clothing and ensure that you won’t be too hot or too cold on the way to and from your destination.
  • Wear your largest, heaviest shoes when you travel – but only if you need them. Try to leave larger shoes at home since they take up a lot of space, and if you must bring a pair, wear them instead of packing them. For example, if you want to go hiking at your destination, wear your boots when you travel.
  • Bring no more than three pairs of shoes. They take up a lot of space and contribute a significant amount of weight.
  • If you bring a lot of electronics, invest in a single charger that’s compatible with all of your items. You can easily find car chargers with interchangeable tips, but if you won’t be driving on your trip, you might consider finding a solar charger. Most of these are equipped to charge a wide variety of devices. By bringing a single charger, you’ll save space and you won’t have to worry about remembering to bring more than one.
  • Avoid bringing a heavy coat. Try wearing thermal tees and long underwear along with a light jacket instead.
  • Ladies, pack basic clothing in neutral solids so you can easily create outfits from just a few pieces. Examples of clothes that can do double duty include black pants, skirts, and tops; wrinkle-free items in a lighter neutral like beige; and a few white tank tops for layering. Add variety with small accessories like scarves and jewelry.
  • Take along an e-reader instead of books and magazines. If you need your laptop, you can even download free e-reader software and use it to read your e-books.

Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, writing on online degrees and playing with the newly revealed online college degree calculator. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.